Finding Mr. Right isn’t always easy. However, for some cultures, they have customs and traditions to make the prospect of looking for a lifelong partner much easier. For many people, courtship involves flowers, free flowing wine and fine dining and other activities to allow the man and woman to get to know each other better. In other parts of the world, the courtship process is an entirely different matter. There are many unusual love and courtship practices when it comes to dating.
In many instances, it’s not about attraction but survival. A mate may be chosen based on his potential to be a good provider when it comes to hunting, or a woman may be chosen for her child bearing hips. In some cultures, parental involvement is a must and the couple themselves have no say in the matter. It may not always be about true love, but these methods have certainly worked for them. Here is how courtship and dating are done in many parts of the world.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match
In Japan, the practice of Omiai is done by some of the more traditional families. In China, this is called Xiangqin. Here, potential mates are considered for a young girl by the parents and the matchmaker before the couple is allowed to meet. It is believed that eventually, a deeper relationship may evolve leading to marriage. Arranged marriages are also still practiced in parts of India and Vietnam.
The getting to know you process is quite different for the Kreung tribe of Cambodia. For the tribe, when a daughter reaches her teen years, she is placed in a love hut where she can spend the night with different young men from her tribe. This way, she gets to know them a little better before she makes her choice.
The use of a love hut isn’t exclusive to the Kreung. Many tribes in Africa, including the Zulus also allow their daughters to stay in a courting hut to be wooed by eligible young men.
This practice is similar to bundling, a traditional practice in olden European and Colonial America. Here, a man and a woman are allowed to share the bed but are separated by tightly wrapped blankets.
Preparing the pearly whites
For the Balinese, young men and women who have reached adolescence have their teeth filed as part of preparation for courtship and marriage. The ritual is conducted by a Brahman priest. They believe that in filing down the upper canine teeth of the person, the traits of greed, jealousy, anger and other evil tendencies will be removed from the person’s system. After the elaborate ritual is done, they are then rendered marriageable.
The Dai people of China have their own take on speed dating. The eligible women in a tribe are gathered together by a bonfire. Next, the eligible men carrying their red blankets choose to sit by a lady that takes their fancy and then proceed to serenade her. If the feeling of attraction is mutual, the lady will have the man sit next to her on a stool that she has kept under the folds of her skirt. When they have sat together, the man will place his red blanket over the woman of his choice.
Let the ring do the talking
In today’s times, a wedding ring translates to the unavailability of a person. On the other hand, wearing a claddagh ring is the traditional way that Irish women announce their availability for marriage. The heart design of the ring should point outward, an indication of her marriageability. When the young lady becomes engaged, the ring is worn the opposite way, as an indication she is off the marriage mart.
In some cultures, the bride doesn’t actually meet her groom till her wedding day. The practice of Swayamvara in ancient India involves the father of the bride making an announcement of his daughter’s intention to marry. After an auspicious date, time and venue are chosen, the young men arrive and make an offer for the girl. Sometimes, a father may even up the ante of the selection process by making the men do various tasks. The young bride will then give her chosen bridegroom a garland. This is interpreted as an indication of her intention to marry, then the wedding ceremony is held on the same day.
For the Sioux Native Americans, chastity is of utmost importance. Young girls are not allowed to even make eye contact with men whom they are unrelated to. When a young girl has her menses, she is considered marriageable. On the other hand, the young men must first participate in at least one raid or war to prove their courage and strength. Since eye contact isn’t allowed, a young man may play a song on his flute to attract the female. If she comes out of the tipi, then it is a sign that she is interested.
The father of the young girl also negotiates with the family of a potential groom. If a young man’s family wishes to court a girl, they would come bearing gifts such as blankets, clothes and food. It is up to the parents to accept the proposal.
Acts of service
For many traditional Filipinos, it is customary that a young man prove his worth to a potential bride by performing various tasks around the household of his lady love. Tasks can be collecting water, helping farm the land and doing various strenuous chores for the woman’s family. He may also opt to sing her a love song, a tradition called harana.
Bring some flowers
Acts of chivalry are also expected from Russian men, from carrying heavy things to opening doors for the lady of their choice. Also, when Russian men bring flowers, it will never be in the color yellow, and the bunch will always be in an odd number. Even numbered flowers are used only in funerals.
Just do it
Finally, since dating isn’t allowed for Roma, the gypsy man simply grabs the girl he likes to get her attention. In olden times, he would physically whisk her away from her parent’s home in the middle of the night in order to claim her for his bride.